Lorraine Forrest-Turner

7 phrases that make you look like an amateur

19 Oct / by: Lorraine

The internet has turned us all into publishers. Sadly, it’s also made many of us think we’re copywriters. Just because you CAN put your own content up on the web for the world to see doesn’t mean you should!

Ideally, unless you are a gifted communicator, get your content produced by a professional who knows how to promote your products and services without sounding as if they’re writing a primary school essay. But if you are having a go yourself, here are seven phrases you should NEVER use.

“We are committed to excellence.” As opposed to what? Mediocrity? Don’t make claims that anyone can say – or that you can’t substantiate.

“Perfect for adults and children alike.” Why alike? If you’re goods are perfect for different audiences, just say who those audiences are. “Alike” adds nothing. As do “basically”, “very”, “rather” and “lots”.

“At your earliest convenience.” Makes you sound as if you’re still living in Dickensian times. “As soon as you can” is friendlier. Better still, give the date you need something by.

“Non-gravitational erasable writing implement.” Don’t try to sound smart. It’s not big and it’s not clever. If you sell pencils, call them pencils. Also second-hand cars are not “previously-enjoyed vehicles”, redundancy is not “skill mix adjustment” and failure is not “deferred success”.

“But don’t take our word for it.” Then why say it? Not only is this contradictory, it’s also well overused. Clichés become clichés because they WERE good phrases – when they were original. Now, they just make you sound insincere.

“Revolutionary new service.” Really? Your new service is going to start a revolution? Your customers are not as gullible as you think. Stay clear of words like “exciting”, “dynamic”, “ground-breaking” and “innovative”. Everyone claims them. Few deliver.

“Do not hesitate to contact us.” Negative, patronising and so old school. Get with the 21st century and say “call us any time” or “drop us a line”.


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Lorraine is a trainer for the PRCA
Lorraine is a trainer for the PRCA
Lorraine is a member of the Professional Copywriters' Network
Lorraine is a trainer for Big Fish Training